Did Hennepin County blow the ballot-transmission process?

posted at 10:10 am on November 11, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Late last night, I received this e-mail from an election judge in Hennepin County:

As a “Machine Judge” it was my duty to setup and take down the voting machine. I still find it very surprising that there has been no attention to the issue pertaining to problems with transmitting the election results in Hennepin county. I followed up with other city authorities and confirmed what I had heard…..

The way the process is to work is that the voting machine or optical scanner is set up in the morning and a tape is run that is left in the machine showing a zero sum total for all the candidates. The polls are then opened and the ballots are fed in throughout the day. There is a counter on the machine which shows how many ballots have been counted, so that a comparison to the number of ballots used can be made.

At the end of the day, the polling location is closed, and the absentee ballots are then addressed and fed into the machine. Once all this is done, we must close out the totals. This entails a number of steps…..one of which is transmitting the results. There is a modem in each of the voting machines which can dial up the county and send the results…..this before the official tape is printed within the machine. This offers a level of security as the results are now off site, and the Official Tape with the totals is still at the precinct.

What happened on election night was Hennepin County set up the wrong IP address for all the machines in the county. There was no way to transmit the results to a secure off site location. Instead all the precinct’s needed to pull the electronic cards out of the machine, along with the tape, and head to City Hall to consolidate and then have them sent to the County. This means that one person had all the voting results and ballots in their possession for that precinct. So it certainly dropped the level of security a level.

So in my mind the process was not followed, and the integrity of the procedure was flawed if not corrupted. I personally recorded the totals from my precinct to view and ensure they were recorded properly, however some Judges after working 16 hours, may not have felt the need to be as diligent, nor hang around to the very end…..A cynic could say something could have been swapped out in the process.

Now some of this thinking puts me in the tin foil hat crowd…..however someone should be asking Hennepin County Officials and Mark Richie, why the transmission of votes from these machines did not work. and how can they ensure the integrity of all the vote totals without this added step. I really believe this needs to be addressed.  This system did not work as it was designed and someone needs to explain why.

I spoke directly with this election judge, who elaborated on this information.  The county actually knew about the failure four days in advance.  The election judges alerted the county to the problem, but they declined to reprogram the cards with the proper IP address.  Election judges have to go through training on how to use these machines, and one can understand the frustration this person had at being told to just forget it all.

One point should be emphasized.  The ballots got conveyed to the county facilities by one person. Before the advent of electronic transmission, ballots were almost always guarded by two people to avoid the appearance (and the reality) of ballot tampering.  In fact, that’s the reason why states and counties went to electronic transmission of ballot counts — to keep human hands off of the tallies as much as possible.

Hennepin County issued no written instructions for the processing of ballots in the failure of electronic transmission.  It looked to this judge like they simply made up the process as they went along.  That failure is itself unconscionable.  The county should have already had a back-up plan, and certainly should have had a written process for safeguarding ballots and results within the four days that they knew of the programming failure, especially if they weren’t prepared to reprogram the precinct machines — which the election judge told me would have been a simple thing to do, and easily accomplished in the four-day window.

I have a call into the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office this morning, but government offices are closed for Veterans Day.  I will follow up tomorrow on this story to get an answer as to why the county did not prepare for this problem, and why this information has not yet been made public.

Power Line is also covering this story.


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If their ideas are so good, why do they have to cheat?

Akzed on November 11, 2008 at 10:15 AM

I really think it’s time to go back to checking a box on a piece of paper and slipping it in the slot on top of a locked box.

No more electronic voting. If it takes more time to count ‘em, so be it.

JetBoy on November 11, 2008 at 10:16 AM

It is my fear that as the days and weeks pass, more and more of this type of story will come out and it will be clear that Obama did not “win” this historic election.

Jvette on November 11, 2008 at 10:18 AM

so who is going to win this thing?

jp on November 11, 2008 at 10:19 AM

They must have all gone to the AIG party during those four days.

Kevin in Washington State on November 11, 2008 at 10:20 AM

The only upside to electronic voting is the results come in faster and Chris Matthews and Olbie go off the air earlier.

flyoverland on November 11, 2008 at 10:21 AM

Didn’t Zorro used to be in charge of getting votes safely delivered? Was that maybe in New Jersey?

Hening on November 11, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Any more time given to Democrats to conduct election shenanegans is too much. I would be worried if I were Coleman or Saxby.

The best news out of this is that government offices still close for Veterans Day!

Grafted on November 11, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Coleman should declare victory

jp on November 11, 2008 at 10:23 AM

I think there was a whole lot more cheating going on than anyone wants to admit. In NC there were ACORN people all over the place in the college towns and there are a lot of colleges and universities here. I just wish someone could check and see how many college students voted both in their home town and in their college town. Dear Leader won by 13,000 votes or so; that is not a lot of votes. That’s the student population of about one college. We also have one of the biggest illegal immigrant population out there. We don’t have to show ID to vote, so neither would an illegal immigrant. ACORN people asked my 15 year old and his friends if they were registered to vote. Something stinks in Denmark.

bloggless on November 11, 2008 at 10:23 AM

I am glad our town uses pencils still. We just fill in the circle. Then slip it into this machine.

sheebe on November 11, 2008 at 10:25 AM

LOL – good ol Hennepin county. Imagine if this was Olmsted county or another heavily Republican county. Franken would be screaming!

gophergirl on November 11, 2008 at 10:26 AM

Jvette on November 11, 2008 at 10:18 AM

bloggless on November 11, 2008 at 10:23 AM

I’m certain there was hanky-panky, but I am equally certain that there was not enough to change the outcome of the presidential election.
Some of the close state and local elections are another story, however.

zerosheep on November 11, 2008 at 10:26 AM

The electronic voting in NC, or at least in my county of Brunswick went flawless. I think it depends on the voting machines.
A simple process would be, at the close of each voting day (assuming more then one day) take their handheld discs and download each of the machines totals as a backup, then send the data over, So you end up with three copies…one sent to the main headquarters, a back up of each polling maching, and then the polling machine themselves.
I don’t see why it gets so screwed up, when backup is so easy.

right2bright on November 11, 2008 at 10:26 AM

A solution is for the state to suspect results from any machine which wasn’t keyed by a connection to the state’s central election authority at some point shortly before the election begins.

At the very least, the state should call the county which failed a checkin and troubleshoot the issue.

Letting a bunch of known bad IP addresses stay in the machines indicates an intent to defraud to me.

If a machine doesn’t check in immediately before the election opens to be keyed, either it or the election officials around it aren’t healthy, and its results should be suspect — to the point of being ignored.

unclesmrgol on November 11, 2008 at 10:28 AM

This whole electronic voting thing is a scam.
The old curtain voting machines worked well. There is even very little privacy while using these electronic systems. Since it is all software,, could not even someone put a virus into the system to ensure one candidate gets more votes than the other??

JellyToast on November 11, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Mark my words.

They will recount and recount find new votes until Frankenstein is elected.

Minnesota has become pathetic.

Just like Connecticut.

drjohn on November 11, 2008 at 10:31 AM

so who is going to win this thing?

jp on November 11, 2008 at 10:19 AM

Franken will get it in the courts, and some anarchist judge will “speak truth to power” and you will say hello to Senator Franken.

Minnesota is a political cesspool, one step behind Chicago. I highly recommend avoiding this place at all cost. Why Ed moved here is a mystery to me.

jeff_from_mpls on November 11, 2008 at 10:31 AM

I was a precinct election judge in Dallas County and we use optical scan voting. The precinct judges here do not have anything to do with the absentee ballots. That being said, our election process is very fragile and depends on honesty and honor. I could have cheated in numerous ways. It is frightening how easy it is. And let me tell you, as a first-time judge, that the training sucks and after being up at 4:30am and bringing your votes to the final location at 9pm you are very tired and frazzled.

mrsmwp on November 11, 2008 at 10:32 AM

Coleman should declare victory

jp on November 11, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Coleman is a former democrat, a go-along, get-along guy.

He’ll never play hardball, and he will soon be a footnote in Minnesota history.

jeff_from_mpls on November 11, 2008 at 10:33 AM

I am glad our town uses pencils still. We just fill in the circle. Then slip it into this machine.

sheebe on November 11, 2008 at 10:25 AM

That is optical scan voting. Just like taking a test in school. Fill in the circle then feed it into the vote counter machine.

mrsmwp on November 11, 2008 at 10:34 AM

I was a republican election Judge in Chigago and I would note the following.

We were trained to try the transmission twice and then give up.The machine that does the transmission prints out 10 copies of the results. Each copy is signed by the Judges and then put into envelopes. One envelope is for the Board of elections and there are also envelopes for the following parties:

Republican
Democrat
Green

Each envelope is sealed and each Judge signs on the seal. Then one republican and one Democrat drops the envelopes and ballots back to the office. It seems that these transmissons fail all the time and ours was not successful but we were in a church basement so it was not surprising. However the other safeguards that they had in place in Chicago made it to me that this was no big deal and would just slow down the final results being posted.

They had all these procedures documents in a book that was given to each Judge and a manual is available online

http://www.voterinfonet.com/sub/election_judges.asp

in the middle of the page. The closing procedures start on page 100. I wonder it Minnesota has a book for the Judges or were these guys freelancing? I mean we are famous for letting dead people vote so I find it surpising that we have more security procedures in Chicago then they have in Minnesota.

cmptrnerd on November 11, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Franken better play hardball.

I say this voting machine failure in a Democrat district was by Design, just in case such a scenario were to take fold.

bottom line, do whatever you have to Coleman to keep that Lunatic out of the Senate the next 6 years.

jp on November 11, 2008 at 10:36 AM

bloggless on November 11, 2008 at 10:23 AM

But when you went to the poles, they asked for your name and address, then marked you off.
I didn’t just walk up and vote, they checked me off on the voters log, gave me a scannable page, the assistant scanned that, that unlocked the machine and locked out that number being used again. The only way I could see is if all 6 of the polling people got together after the polls closed, checked the voting register, chose the ones that did not vote and then loaded them into the machine one at a time. But then the Republican rep would have had to go along with the dem rep.
You couldn’t vote twice. A screw up happened along those lines and they just gave the person a provisional ballot.
I feel the electronic voting in NC was the best I have ever used.

right2bright on November 11, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Franken better play hardball.

I say this voting machine failure in a Democrat district was by Design, just in case such a scenario were to take fold.

bottom line, do whatever you have to Coleman to keep that Lunatic out of the Senate the next 6 years.

Let me see if I understand you. Al Franken is NOT a lunatic?

Geochelone on November 11, 2008 at 10:43 AM

There will be no way to trust a vote tally in this race, the race will be muddled in the courts and remain unresolved. Then the US Senate will decide which candidate is to be seated. Any guesses on who gets at least 56 votes in the US Senate? Any guesses on which candidate wins by suing?

Mark30339 on November 11, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Franken better play hardball.

I say this voting machine failure in a Democrat district was by Design, just in case such a scenario were to take fold.

bottom line, do whatever you have to Coleman to keep that Lunatic out of the Senate the next 6 years.

jp on November 11, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Franken is the epitome of a lunatic, are you saying that he doesn’t want any competition. No, I take that back, Franken makes a lunatic appear to be the standard for rationality and sanity . . . he’s a brain dead kook.

rplat on November 11, 2008 at 10:49 AM

Anyone want to place odds on Coleman actually getting out of this with a win??? Have we not seen this before— Washington governor race ring a bell???

dirtseller on November 11, 2008 at 10:52 AM

This is like watching the movie Titanic, there is no doubt about how it all ends, but it sure takes a long time to get there. Congratulations MN Venturacrats, you have the candidate you deserve.

waukee on November 11, 2008 at 10:54 AM

You notice how this kind of stuff ONLY happens in Democrat run counties? Why? Because Democrats ate stupid and don’t have any organizationally or analytical skills whatsoever. That’s why most have to take beaurocratic or union type jobs where these sorts of skills aren’t part of your performance appraisal for your pay raise. Heck, I don’t think they even get performance appraisals, do they? Hmm. *scratches head* And these are the folks we think have great ideas to organize and analyze and implement a plan for a financial recovery. I get it. Let people screw things up and never actually ran a business and never got a productivity or performance appraisal fix things. They obviously have the know-how to get it done.

Sultry Beauty on November 11, 2008 at 10:57 AM

I am quite confident the Democrat Secretary of State will be able to manufacture enough votes to pull this off for Franken. The Democrats would never be able to win most elections if not for voter fraud and cheating.

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE (mo-lone lah-veh) Translation: Come and take them!

Retired USAF on November 11, 2008 at 10:57 AM

  
 
First they start playing football indoors, then they elect Ventura. And now Al Franken? Holy Woodchippers, Batman, is Hennepin the new Broward?
 

ignatzk on November 11, 2008 at 10:58 AM

We have very short memories, and periodic amnesia.

EVERY election has fraud in EVERY state: partisan shenanigans, dead people voting, felons voting, illegal aliens voting, and people voting 2 or more times. We focus on Florida, Ohio, or Minnesota, but ignore the fraud everywhere else.

But then the election is over, we all want to get along, we all want to move on… and nothing gets done to tighten up the system, remove dead people and felons and illegals from the voter rolls, get better machines and systems that eliminate human error, and it usually gets worse the next time.

Corrupt lazy election officials, corrupt partisan voter organizations, clueless, uninformed electorate…

With all of the US’s brains, talent, technology – why can’t we do a better job than this?

rockbend on November 11, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Even with all the fancy technology at the end of the day, our elections are still dependent upon trained amateurs and low level bureaucrats. Have you ever met a county auditor or clerk? It’s a pretty dull job although one of the better paying jobs if you are in a rural county.

If someone really wants to cheat there are a million ways to do it, from filling out “extra” ballots, to “voting” names you know aren’t going to show up, to reporting numbers which don’t correspond to machine totals and blaming the machine for being faulty.

Individual precinct cheating really doesn’t matter so much unless it is widespread or coordinated in some way. For example, if the cheating is by the voter, say a voter who illegally votes twice–that kind of thing is random and pretty much a wash.

Our democracy has always rested on this slender reed of trusting our neighbors and government officials to do the right thing. Usually, it doesn’t really matter whether they do or not because outcomes are clear, unless we are talking about big city large scale cheating where entire reports are fictitious. I don’t believe that happens any more in the US. It’s only when we have tight elections that marginal cheating really matters.

MargaretMN on November 11, 2008 at 11:02 AM

As for that virus theory…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JESZiLpBLE

UnderstandingisPower on November 11, 2008 at 11:04 AM

The issue is also whether the Hennepin election board controlled by democrats intentionally gave the wrong address and intentionally allowed the lower precincts to not properly program their computers to give election fraudsters the room necessary to game the system. Either way this is gross dereliction of duty and the offenders should be removed from office. Moreover having one unsupervised partisan deliver crucial votes, is also grounds for removal from office. All one has to do is apply the mirror image rule, what would dems be screaming if a repub was the sole carrier in an election won be the repubs by a measly few hundred votes?
Does the phrase selected not elected come to mind?

eaglewingz08 on November 11, 2008 at 11:07 AM

I must admit to ignorance about Minnesota geography, so I went to the CNN website to find out where Hennepin county was–it’s the most populous county in the state, where Franken won by 91,752 votes!

So we have the most populous county in the state with no backup electronic transmission of the votes, and we must trust one person in every precinct to hand-carry the results, in a county where such a person is more likely to be a Democrat than a Republican.

Oopsies.

Did anyone keep the actual ballots secure, so the machines could be re-zeroed and they could be run through the system again?

Steve Z on November 11, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Why does a modem need to be programmed with an IP address?

Kenrod on November 11, 2008 at 11:15 AM

The DNC’s art of stealing elections, explained in detail. Heil Obama!!!

DL13 on November 11, 2008 at 11:18 AM

So frankenswine will steal the election the same way hussein stole America!
Grrrrrreat! Thats the brown icing on the sh!t cake.

ErinF on November 11, 2008 at 11:19 AM

I must admit to ignorance about Minnesota geography, so I went to the CNN website to find out where Hennepin county was–it’s the most populous county in the state, where Franken won by 91,752 votes!

I live there and I’m working on my escape.
…So I really wasted an hour of my time voting?

foxforce91 on November 11, 2008 at 11:21 AM

I’m not strong on MN geography…

Hennepin County is what? All of metro Minneapolis?

Vatican Watcher on November 11, 2008 at 11:32 AM

As Ed has mentioned in other posts, there are three types of vote fraud: removing ballots, changing ballots, and adding ballots.

Existing checks already make it difficult to outright add ballots, apart from ineligible people voting or people voting multiple times. We know a picture ID is the minimum requirement to fixing that problem, and we should be advocating such requirements, loudly.

But the intransigent problem of tampering or excluding ballots has always been stymied by the need for secret ballots. It has been assumed that any sort of audit trail capable of detecting these problems could be used to determine who voted for whom.

I believe there is a way, though, to make sure every vote is counted, and counted accurately. First, put a unique ballot number on each ballot, and give each voter a ‘ballot report’, showing the voter’s identity and a copy of his or her ballot (the most practical way to do this is for the two to start out as a single piece of paper that will be separated, with the ballot being submitted and the report being kept). It’s important – but easy – to ensure that the only tie between a specific voter and his or her ballot would be the ballot report. This report would have to have sufficient protections that it would be difficult to forge, but there are multiple ways to accomplish this (for example: have an additional randomly generated barcode or microdot on both ballot and ballot report, that could be verified to match).

The day after voting, a website would display a list of all of the ballot IDs alongside the votes that were recorded for them. Each voter could go online and make sure his ballot was THERE — looking for ballot ID, not voter id or name — and that the votes recorded are CORRECT. If not, he would be able to carry the ballot report in to election officials and have his votes included/corrected. Knowing precisely which ballots were lost or altered could go far in identifying the person responsible, which — coupled with the likelihood of fraud being likely unsuccessful — should dissuade people from even trying it very often.

This option would allow us to use the optical-scan ballots or touch-screens, with all of the efficiency advantages they have, and would REQUIRE the ballots to be transmitted electronically in order to post the entire list online (as Ed suggested, making it much harder for would-be tamperers to succeed). To those who advocate slips of paper stuffed in a box with a slit on top, I would say that this is probably the very easiest system to corrupt. The padlocks can be picked or cracked on the way to the counting-place and ANYTHING can be done, with little risk of being found out and NO chance for reversing any tampering.

We could go far in preventing ballot tampering and improving confidence in the integrity of our voting system by allowing voters to audit their own votes.

RegularJoe on November 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM

if Dems can move to throw out military ballots, why can’t GOP move to have these votes thrown out?

jp on November 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM

I was a poll worker in Utah. Our machines have modems in them, but the training never mentions them. The machine totals are reconciled with the paper record and the poll book, and then the memory cards, the paper record, the poll book and everything else are all taken by the poll manager, alone, and turned in to the County Sheriff and whatever election officials that hang out with him (I didn’t do that part). So the terrible breach of procedure in Minnesota is actually the official procedure in Utah.

aranhamo on November 11, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Time to go biometric for voting. You get everything scanned, both hands (all 10 fingers), and both eyes. When you go to vote they scan your left eye and boom no more voter fraud and no more illegals voting. I’d scan everything initially so that the eye-patch, my hand was injured crowd could only vote once too.

Yah I know that would put us closer to the mark of the beast but at least we’d have fair elections until then.

Mojave Mark on November 11, 2008 at 11:50 AM

We have a similar system here in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) with the optical scanners. However, the ballots, electronic card, etc. are escorted to the BOE by two judges/ pollworkers one from each party in theory. Hence in a very blue county such as this one Republican judges were very much in demand. This was the first time I worked the polls and saw nothing untowards going on in the downtown precinct where I worked. Seal numbers on the scanner and ballot boxes are recorded every step of the way, all day long with witnesses needed to sign-off. It seems to be a system which can work as long as documentation is completed every step of the way. If it is not, you fire and prosecute. If the local BOE doesn’t get their act together and enforce State Laws, you prosecute them. Our local BOE was under state supervision during this election because of past performance with the touchscreen machines and screwups at every level. Based upon what I saw anyway (in the single precinct I worked), this election was clean. Others may have had a differnt experience.

Eagle 1

Eagle 1 on November 11, 2008 at 11:51 AM

Sounds like they have found a way around the protections built into the system.

MarkTheGreat on November 11, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Jetboy

Great idea concerning the lock box paper ballot. We should also dip our finger or whole hand in indellable ink to prove that we have already voted, thus preventing a person from voting twice.

Our Precinct set up the electronic tabulation machine in a Jevhovah Witness Church gym. I thought that maybe they could take this idea one further and have the Jehovas oversee the process since they do not have a horse in the race

Burgher on November 11, 2008 at 12:03 PM

What I want to know is why one person carried the results. Don’t they drive cars that can carry four people? That would allow a judge, a second poll worker, one Dem poll watcher and one GOP poll watcher. If everything is in a sealed package, kept where the folks in the rear can see it, there should be no opportunity for funny business–unless one of the people is an experienced magician, of course.

njcommuter on November 11, 2008 at 12:03 PM

I’m not strong on MN geography…

Hennepin County is what? All of metro Minneapolis?

Vatican Watcher on November 11, 2008 at 11:32 AM

Dante’s 8th Circle of Hell, the ring of fraud and treachery.

Oh, you mean physical geography? Minneapolis.

Don’t come here. Don’t even visit. It’s horrid.

jeff_from_mpls on November 11, 2008 at 12:06 PM

The electronic voting machines,cards,
online voting has to be deep-sixed!

Time to eliminate fraud!

The ballot needs to be paper,with
circles next to the candidates,put
your X on it,then into a locked
steel box which is sealed!

This is the same crock of sh#t
that happened in Broward Florida!

There needs to be a third party
involved in the election process,
so Liberals and Republicans are
seperated from any part of the
ballot counting!

Also,a tamper-proof Identification,
that proves you are legal American
citizen!!

Then your identification is scanned,
therefore ACORN can’t use your name
a bizillion times!!

Something has to change!!

canopfor on November 11, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Votes for “Me, Al Franken” keep miraculously appearing and that’s…ok?
I worked the polls during the mid-term election and saw up close how difficult those touch-screen voting machines are to set up and operate. It took more than 5 hours to get them working properly.
The Libs are better at cheating, that’s why Barry won by 6% rather than 1% or 2%…but McCain wouldn’t have ordered a recount because he’s a white ‘Repub’. We can’t have another 2000 debacle; the country would have been destroyed by riots because the Obamites couldn’t be held accountable for their reaction. The fix was in anyway…

Christine on November 11, 2008 at 12:07 PM

This Franken dude is the biggest rodent to ever come down the pike .. the very fact that he is even IN THE RACE, tells me something about some folks in Minnesota

joey24007 on November 11, 2008 at 12:22 PM

Two can play this game,

Coleman should ask for

another recount!!!

canopfor on November 11, 2008 at 12:33 PM

Franken will get it in the courts, and some anarchist judge will “speak truth to power” and you will say hello to Senator Franken.

Minnesota is a political cesspool, one step behind Chicago. I highly recommend avoiding this place at all cost. Why Ed moved here is a mystery to me.

jeff_from_mpls on November 11, 2008 at 10:31 AM

I wouldn’t put it past the Senate itself to “speak truth to power”; after all, they’re the final arbiter of who does and doesn’t get seated, and if Franken would represent #60 in the ‘Rat caucus, I can see them seating him regardless of the actual results of the election. <hat_tin_foil_off>

steveegg on November 11, 2008 at 12:51 PM

What I want to know is why one person carried the results.
njcommuter on November 11, 2008 at 12:03 PM

Your mistake is to presume that a Democrat wants to act honorably. You need to get a more accurate picture of the garden variety Minnesota Democrat in your head.

Picture the Democrat bundling up the ballots, heading to his/her/its car, looking at you, giving you the finger, and driving off.

They’re arrogant vermin, and long past the point of caring what anyone else thinks of their wrongdoing.

jeff_from_mpls on November 11, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Why can’t we all go into a voting booth and vote online over a highly secure connection to one server located in a bunker somewhere?

Why does this have to be so complicated?

If Intel can deliver hundreds of thousands of classmate PCs to countries around the world, why can’t we overcome this fraudulent process?

Perhaps those in charge like to have the fraud option available when they need it.

Mr_Magoo on November 11, 2008 at 1:05 PM

My head hurts when I think that Franken might steal this election. He thinks this is his right as he wants to be Paul Wellstone.
I’ve joked before about Franken winning, becoming the ‘poison pill’ to take down the Dem Congress just as he did Air America Radio. I’m waiting for Coleman to win so I can start calling Franken “Senator Al Failure”. Hurry up, Norm.
Those suspecting that Hennepin county Dem officials might have screwed the IP addresses intentionally to create enough doubt so that the courts have to decide…may be right.
I think Coleman would win a revote. Franken coming this close to actual power would wipe grins off of many Democrats who voted the party line, only voting for Franken because of the ‘D’ after his name.

Doug on November 11, 2008 at 1:36 PM

But then the election is over, we all want to get along, we all want to move on… and nothing gets done to tighten up the system, remove dead people and felons and illegals from the voter rolls, get better machines and systems that eliminate human error, and it usually gets worse the next time.

Corrupt lazy election officials, corrupt partisan voter organizations, clueless, uninformed electorate…

With all of the US’s brains, talent, technology – why can’t we do a better job than this?

rockbend on November 11, 2008 at 11:01 AM

The Democrats have worked very hard to undermine the integrity of the voting process. Early voting, same day registration/voting, extending voting hours (and certification deadlines in FL 2000) have been steps to get around and undermine the protections that have been put in place. Even open primaries are a joke, allowing the opposing party to determine their opponent’s candidate.

jerseyman on November 11, 2008 at 1:39 PM

RegularJoe on November 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM

RegularJoe – The problem with verifiable votes is that it allows people to sell their votes or be extorted into voting a certain way. I’ve had some thoughts on how to do that myself, but I’m not posting them here because I don’t think most of the people in this forum want to read a bunch of hardcore crypto stuff.

Running a secure, verifiable electronic voting system is a reasonably difficult proposition. The sort of thing that we should be throwing our best and brightest at. Judging by the source code that’s been uncovered for the existing voting systems, all of the design and implementation has been done by the lowest bidders…

ErikTheRed on November 11, 2008 at 1:42 PM

I have to wonder…in Canada we run our elections based on a piece of paper and a pencil. We mark an X in the circle for our candidate, and then hand-count the ballots in the presence of scrutineers from each of the parties (who can challenge any ballot).

The results, once they have been tallied in a poll, then are certified by the poll captain with the consent of all scrutineers (unless otherwise noted), and all the votes are sealed in a tamper-proof bag.

The results are then reported by telephone, in the presence of all the scrutineers, to the regional returning office. The votes are then recorded and inputted by internet into the system for that riding (or district, if you prefer) at the office. These inputted vote tallies are then matched to the actual paper copies of the tallies, which are returned to the same office (other copies of the paper tallies, on carbon paper, are sent to the provincial and national offices).

If there is a discrepancy, then the appropriate bag is opened and a manual recount by the elections employees is conducted in a transparent fashion.

Once all this has happened, we still have provisions for automatic and judicial recounts.

The thing I can’t seem to figure out is why it seems to be so hard sometimes to have an election go off without any hiccups in the USA.

I don’t mean to sound condescending, so please forgive me. I honestly can’t understand how a system with automatic reporting wasn’t tested and configured properly at least a WEEK before advance voting?

Also, why is it that there seems to be no paper and pencil voting in the US? I know that you vote for more positions than we do (such as judges), but couldn’t that be handled by differently coloured ballots?

And yes, the US has over ten times the population of Canada, but to me that just means that you would need ten times the number of employees and voting stations that we have.

Here, we have an inedependant organization in charge of elections which reports directly to our Parliament (not to any party). Is it a matter of States’ rights (and hence, Federalism), that each state can run elections in any way they feel like?

This is something that I have been wondering since 2000 (for obvious reasons), and if someone could clarify it for me, even a little bit, I’d be very grateful!

Sorry for the rant. ;-)

Canucker on November 11, 2008 at 2:16 PM

Here, we have an inedependant organization in charge of elections which reports directly to our Parliament (not to any party). Is it a matter of States’ rights (and hence, Federalism), that each state can run elections in any way they feel like?

Yes, it is. The constitution allows each state to decide how it will appoint electors, and whether those electors are committing a (state, not federal) crime should they vote other than as promised.

I’m starting to think that this process may require the heavy hand of the Federal government if we’re going to have any chance at fair elections. I know, I know… who said the Feds will be fair? All I know is it isn’t working now. Even where the tallies are fair, the losers doubt the integrity of the results. With each election we come closer to the day when roughly 50% of the public refuses to recognize the results of an election, and we descend into anarchy.

RegularJoe on November 11, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Thank you RegularJoe!

I figured that it was probably something like that, but it’s nice to hear that there’s something fundamentally different in the US than here.

As for the “heavy hand of government”, it’s always a danger. I remember a particular head of the elections agency deciding that a huge portion of a province being evacuated for a flood wouldn’t affect the overall result/conduct of the overall election… Talk about neutering my vote!

However, if all 50 states came together to decide on a uniform method for elections, and a method for staffing an agency to oversee that method, it would do a huge service to rehabilitating the US electoral process.

My nightmare for this year was a squeaker like in 2000. Hell, as much as I hated Lurch (I mean, Kerry) in 2004, at least he had the decency to spare the country the spectacle of endless recounts.

Canucker on November 11, 2008 at 4:17 PM

I have to wonder…in Canada we run our elections based on a piece of paper and a pencil. We mark an X in the circle for our candidate, and then hand-count the ballots in the presence of scrutineers from each of the parties (who can challenge any ballot).

The results, once they have been tallied in a poll, then are certified by the poll captain with the consent of all scrutineers (unless otherwise noted), and all the votes are sealed in a tamper-proof bag.

The results are then reported by telephone, in the presence of all the scrutineers, to the regional returning office. The votes are then recorded and inputted by internet into the system for that riding (or district, if you prefer) at the office. These inputted vote tallies are then matched to the actual paper copies of the tallies, which are returned to the same office (other copies of the paper tallies, on carbon paper, are sent to the provincial and national offices).

If there is a discrepancy, then the appropriate bag is opened and a manual recount by the elections employees is conducted in a transparent fashion.

Once all this has happened, we still have provisions for automatic and judicial recounts.

The thing I can’t seem to figure out is why it seems to be so hard sometimes to have an election go off without any hiccups in the USA.

I don’t mean to sound condescending, so please forgive me. I honestly can’t understand how a system with automatic reporting wasn’t tested and configured properly at least a WEEK before advance voting?

Also, why is it that there seems to be no paper and pencil voting in the US? I know that you vote for more positions than we do (such as judges), but couldn’t that be handled by differently coloured ballots?

And yes, the US has over ten times the population of Canada, but to me that just means that you would need ten times the number of employees and voting stations that we have.

Here, we have an inedependant organization in charge of elections which reports directly to our Parliament (not to any party). Is it a matter of States’ rights (and hence, Federalism), that each state can run elections in any way they feel like?

This is something that I have been wondering since 2000 (for obvious reasons), and if someone could clarify it for me, even a little bit, I’d be very grateful!

Sorry for the rant. ;-)

Canucker on November 11, 2008 at 2:16 PM

That all presumes everyone wants a fair election. There are a lot of people who like the current system.

Try to tighten up controls and requirements, and people will scream about voter suppression.

I still have hopes that one day someone will come along who will ramrod voter reform through to completion. I just hope it won’t be after we find out elections have already been stolen.

One of the few federal interventions I think would be truly justified would be a federal poll observer at every precinct and voting district, concerned not with counting votes, but with making sure there’s no funny business.

They would have the right to do that for all federal elections. They may not for statewide-only elections.

tom on November 11, 2008 at 5:47 PM

I’m an election Inspector in upstate NY. We were suppose to have new voting machines this year, but thank God we didn’t need to use them because most of us haven’t a clue as to how they work. Two of us worked on getting it to print ballots for two hours with no success. Luckily, the old machines, about thirty years old worked just fine. I’ve been doing this now for about eight years and this was the first year when everything seemed to get screwed up. We normally have two or three provisional ballets, we had twenty three. People were being sent to the wrong polling places, their names were on the rolls though I had personal knowledge that the voted in the primary and previous general elections. We would never think of allowing just one person to be in charge of the tallies. Ours have to be called outby a member of both parties, written down, called into the board of elections and then the tally sheet taken down to the board of elections. I would never let just myself or any of the other inspectors to be alone with the votes. It’s just not right.
We can fight all this fraud, but the power at the moment is all on their side and I’m sure they will pass new laws to see it stays that way. Now we have to worry about Georgia. God will it never end.

Amazing Grace on November 11, 2008 at 7:04 PM

I have to confess that one time I got an IP address mixed up and inadvertently put the router/gateway address as the IP address of a device. Basically it took the entire network segment down. Ouch.

This does make one wonder about the test plans for these machines – don’t they actually test transmission to “secure location”?

Dr. Bob on November 11, 2008 at 11:12 PM